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IBOR Transformation Australian Working Group

OVERVIEW

Around the world, national working groups have been established to lead work on identifying alternative nearly risk-free reference rates (RFRs) which can be used as an alternative to LIBOR and to set the strategic direction on the transition to RFRs. Principal among these national working groups are the Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates and the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC).

The IBOR Transformation Australian Working Group is the national working group for considering the strategic issues facing Australia as the market is transformed by international developments with regard to IBOR transition, and leading work on domestic responses to the change. The ITAWG was established by industry after consultation with the Reserve Bank of Australia and liaises regularly with the RBA on its work.

Members
Pieter Bierkens       Chair      
David Ziegler          Member              
Duncan Marshall    Member              
John Henson          Member              
Mark Beeley           Member

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

In December 2019, the IBOR Transformation Australian Working Group wrote to the Council of Financial Regulators requesting guidance on the supervisory expectation regarding conduct matters associated with the transition from LIBOR to alternative reference rates (ARRs) in the form of near Risk Free Rates (RFRs). The Australian Group is the national working group that considers the strategic issues facing Australia as the market is transformed by IBOR transition. Two issues were raised. The first matter concerned conduct risk in relation to the transition to RFRs; the second concerned client communications. This letter is available here.

After deliberation by the Council, ASIC responded to the request for guidance and its views are set out in a letter of reply to Australian group. The letter addresses conduct risk in relation to the transition to RFRs and client communications. ASIC’s guidance letter is available here.

On 9 October 2020, ISDA announced the upcoming launch of its IBOR (interbank offered rates) Fallbacks Protocol (the Protocol) and IBOR Fallbacks Supplement (the Supplement), which focus on strengthening existing and new derivatives contracts with robust fallback language. After it is launched on 23 October 2020, the Protocol will take effect on 25 January 2021. Timely adoption well before this time will promote market certainty.

With the support of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the RBA, ASIC released a statement on 13 October 2020 urging Australian institutions to adhere to the ISDA Protocol and Supplement.

On 23 October 2020, the IBOR Transformation Australian Working Group released a statement to welcome the launch of the new ISDA Protocol and Supplement, noting that the launch of the fallbacks for derivative contracts is an important impetus for the ongoing work developing standardised fallback language for other categories of financial products.

Minutes for Working Group meetings are available below.

Working Group Minutes

Date 

Agenda Items 

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29/06/2020

Feedback on interpretation of ISDA fallbacks and support for ARRC initiative for NY law reform.

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17/06/2020

Discussion with official guests from RBA and ASIC about upcoming ISDA fallback definitions and protocol, fallback to AONIA, ASIC letter to industry and ARRC representations with regard to a legislative safe harbour. 

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14/05/2020  

Statutory protections, organisation of a meeting of industry associations, preparation of market discussion paper on implications of ISDA credit spread adjustment for the Australian market, developing market practices.

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02/04/2020 

ASIC letter in response to group letter on conduct risk, COVID-19 and implementation of LIBOR reform, credit spread adjustments for cash products, developing market practices. 

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27/02/2020 

Discussion with James Leather, representative of the Association of Corporate Treasurers on the UK Working Group on Sterling Risk-Free Reference Rates subgroup, letter to CFR relating to conduct risk, delay in ISDA fallbacks, FSB OSSG meeting. 

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03/12/2019 

Discussion with Harri Vikstedt about the Canadian approach to benchmark reform and the Canadian Alternative Reference Rate Working Group (CARR), letter to CFR relating to conduct risk, IBOR Market Responses Working Group. 

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24/10/2019 

Areas where market may benefit from enhanced regulatory guidance, ISDA conference. 

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02/09/2019 

Discussion with ASIC, ASF consultation, ISDA consultation, BBSW fallbacks. 

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09/07/2019 

OSSG Working Group, ISDA pre-cessation trigger consultation, BBSW fallback progress, standard disclosure, communication, ASF IBOR Working Group, ARRC report on considerations for use of RFRs in interdealer cross-currency swaps. 

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16/05/2019 

Conversation with RBA, OSSG regulatory, accounting and tax discussions, market communications, accounting developments. 

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18/04/2019 

Industry developments regarding SONIA, RBA related discussion. 

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28/03/2019 

Selection of the cash rate in Australia as the ARR versus developing an overnight secured repo rate, ARRC follow-ups for the cross currency working group, engagement with other associations. 

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6/02/2019 

Issue identification and priority setting, industry coordination, Australian trigger events, use of AONIA as a reference rate. 

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